Institute for Professional Leadership
Preparing tomorrow’s leaders today
Lawyers as Leaders
This course is designed to help students succeed as new entrants into the legal profession. Topics include professional leadership, law firm management, bar association service, public service, practical ethics, redefining success, and leaving a proud legacy. Classes involve prominent guest speakers and discussion supplemented with relevant readings. Grading is based on class participation, written assignments, and a professional development plan.
The practicum begins with class sessions on leadership and project design, implementation, and management. Students then develop individual or group professional service projects, execute those projects, and report back on the results. Through the process, students learn basic leadership principles, project management skills, effective communication and reporting techniques, and the value of service. Students have completed projects for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, McClung Museum, and other entities and organizations.
Leading as Lawyers: Trans-Pacific Perspectives
Through a collaboration between UT Law and the University of Queensland TC Beirne School of Law in Brisbane, Australia, students of either country may enroll in Leading as Lawyers: Trans-Pacific Perspectives, a two-credit course that introduces students to basic leadership principles and the value of service. The principles and values are explored from a cross-cultural perspective, giving American and Australian law students the opportunity to discuss subtleties in styles and approaches within the two legal systems on either side of the Pacific. The course’s location alternates each year. Learn more about this opportunity.
Thriving as a Lawyer
This class, developed in collaboration with Adjunct Professor Candice Reed (UT Law ’00), who earned her Masters in Applied Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, is designed to introduce law students to the scientific principles of positive psychology, while incorporating ‘hands-on learning’ through empirically validated positive interventions, which require cognitive reasoning and physical effort, encourage habitualizing behavior, involve goal-setting, and allow for self-efficacy or autonomy.
Lawyering and Professionalism (First Year Only)
This course exposes students to the wide range of available career paths for law graduates. Students begin to experience and understand what it means to be a lawyer through exercises, discussion, and by hearing from guest speakers. Because lawyers are constantly placed in leadership roles in all aspects of their personal and professional lives, the exploration includes an examination of the attributes of effective leaders and identifies strategies to foster development of skills underlying those attributes. The final focus of the course is on professional planning, beginning with consideration of what kind of lawyer (and person) each student is working to become, or, as is more often the case, how to design a path to figure that out. The class also explores the fundamentals of wellness, work-life balance, and positive psychology.